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How to Speak Teenage-ese So Your Kids Will Listen


If I’ve learned anything since my kids have become infested with foot-stomping, door-slamming hormones (said with much love), it’s that there’s one trick all parents must keep up their sleeve at all times: TENACITY.

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Stick to your guns and I can’t promise that you won’t feel like running away from home until your teens are 30. But don’t stick to your guns and I can promise that you will seriously think about it. Every other day.

One of the things I’m adamant about teaching my teens (besides not talking with food in their mouths and that when Criminal Minds is on there is NO OTHER CHANNEL) is that they are the masters of their own lives.

But you know how teens are, right? They’re so busy trying to understand their place in the world that overwhelming them with complicated concepts of Universal Laws and empty promises about a God that may or may not be paying attention when they need Her, is like continuing to pour wine into an already full glass. It’s a waste.

So instead I try to empower them on the most basic level of all: day-by-day. And I do this by asking them questions . . . mostly as I drive them to school.

So what kind of day are you going to have today?

Are you ready for a rock’n good day? (Yup. I say that.)

When they were little, these questions were always answered with enthusiasm because . . . well they were little and the hormones were still dormant.

Then things changed. About two years ago my questions stopped being greeted by their sweet eagerness, only to be replaced by one of three responses:




Or on really ambitious days:

“Yessa! Stop asking me that!”

But still, I kept asking the questions.

Being a teenager is one phase of life that I would not like to return to. It’s hard. It’s volatile. It’s full of self-questioning and false beliefs about how everybody else has it “together” while you wonder if what you’re feeling . . . thinking . . . saying . . . doing . . . wearing . . . eating . . . is “okay”.

And while I know the questions are redundant and annoying (apparently), I just want to drill into them that no matter what’s going on, they CHOOSE what kind of day they’ll have.

Well guess what?

I think I’m starting to get through to them because as of about a week ago, I’ve been getting answers like, “you bet!” and “of course!”



Either that or they’ve just decided to appease me.

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Mona Andrei

Mona Andrei is a technical writer for a serious company in a serious industry. When she’s had enough serious for one day, she likes to write irreverent posts for her personal blog, Moxie-Dude, life updates gone wrong. Or right. She’s undecided. Follow her on Twitter @MoxieDude

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